You can download a copy of the Color Your Food RED handout HERE
The Color Your Food Class on RED was held at Amazing Heart Farm on July 12th, 2012. The class was lead by Sara Tower and she has offered to share her notes:
- Phytochemicals are produced by plants to protect them from damage caused by animals, insects, and UV radiation. More than 900 different phytochemicals have been identified and hundreds more are still undiscovered. One serving of vegetables is believed to contain over 100 different phytochemicals.
- Phytochemicals are not technically classified as nutrients or “life-sustaining substances”. However, different phytochemicals play many beneficial roles on a molecular level, including reducing cellular damage, preventing cancer cell replication, decreasing cholesterol levels, strengthening the immune system, reducing inflammation, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, and keeping the brain functioning optimally.
- Antioxidants counter the cellular damage of oxidation caused by excess unstable molecules called free radicals. Oxidation occurs whenever oxygen interacts with a vulnerable surface such as living tissues or base metals. However, too much oxidation can degenerate cells and lead to cancer, arthritis, and heart disease.
- Phytochemicals can act as antioxidants, but they can also play other nutritive roles; likewise, antioxidants can be phytochemicals, but they can also be vitamins or minerals. Phytochemicals with antioxidant properties include vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene.
- Some phytochemicals and antioxidants are actually the pigments that give fruits, vegetables, and flowers – all plants – their distinctive hues.
Red fruits and vegetables get their color from natural plant pigments including anthocyanins, betacyanins, and lycopene.
- Anthocyanins are a class of pigments that produce the red, purple, and blue colors of plants, depending on the pH level of their soil environment. Anthocyanin turns bright pink in acidic soils, reddish-purple in neutral soils, and blue-green in alkaline soils.
- Betacyanins also play a dominant role in the red color of certain plants including beets, red grapes, red chard, and red lentils
- Lycopene is the pigment responsible for making tomatoes red and watermelon, grapefruit, guava, and papaya pink.
- The best way to increase absorption of lycopene-rich foods is by cooking them in small amounts of oil; the heat releases the pigment that is bound to the cell walls and makes it available for our bodies to use, and the fat helps transport it in our bloodstream.
Resplendent RED Foods! (and how to eat them):
Red apples * Beets * Red cabbage * Cherries * Cranberries * Pink grapefruit * Pomegranates * Radishes * Raspberries * Red grapes * Red lentils * Red onions * Red peppers * Red potatoes * Rhubarb * Strawberries * Tomatoes * Watermelon
- Add red bell peppers, red cabbage, and red onions to your stir-fry
- Roast, steam, or boil red beets and make a beet salad, or use raw shredded beets.
- Eat fresh salsa with tortilla chips
- Add dried cherries or craisins to your oatmeal
- Make a watermelon granita, or brush some watermelon with oil and throw it on the grill
- Drink cranberry, tomato, or pomegranate juice
- Snack on red grapes, apples, raspberries, strawberries, or cherry tomatoes
- Try making your own homemade pizza and pasta sauce
- Beet Burgers! Recipe HERE